Nevada Town Wants Brothels Out

Gretchen Gallen
FALLON, Nev. – The brothel capital of the world, Nevada, is in the midst of a massive identity crisis. Legalized prostitution, which has long been part of the state's free-wheeling, anything-goes attitude might be facing a formidable threat if a group of outraged citizens have their way at the November election.

Calling itself "The Coalition to Keep Brothels Out of Churchill County," hundreds of angry residents are calling for a ban on one of the oldest professions: prostitution.

The group is aiming to collect enough signatures to add an official question to the November election ballot, asking fellow voters if they think a portion of the county code that makes brothels legal should be repealed.

Current law, under Chapter 5.20 of the Churchill County Code, makes prostitution legal in the county, and concerned citizens want what they consider a "blight on the community" outlawed.

The original county code, which was approved in 1974 by more than half of the voters, permits a certain number of brothels to operate in the county's vicinity.

According to the Lahontan Valley News, the counties in Nevada are each required to determine whether prostitution is permitted. Nevada lawmakers legalized prostitution in 1972.

Only six Nevada counties do not allow brothels, whereas counties like Storey and Carson City are home to some of the most famous brothels in the world, including the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, the Chicken Ranch, the Wild Horse Ranch, the Cherry Patch and the Kit Kat Ranch.

The coalition reportedly delivered 1,200 signatures to the county clerk on Friday and they intend to collect more. Those signatures are under review by the county clerk to determine their validity.

"I have to say I think it will pass," said the coalition's leader, Elizabeth Earl. "I don't know if the vote was held today if it would pass but we are planning an information campaign."

Earl claims that her interest in getting the brothels out of the county is in the best interest of the community as well as a way of preventing young girls from being lured into prostitution.

The coalition also intends to launch a county-wide awareness initiative that will include printed materials, yard sales, and other means of voicing their anti-brothel stance to the community.